The Juno Awards in Saskatoon this weekend have been cancelled as the global spread of the novel coronavirus causes increasing concerns over public health.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced the cancellation on Thursday in a joint statement with the City of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan.
“We are devastated to cancel this national celebration of music, but at this time of global uncertainty, the health, safety and well-being of all Canadians must stand at the forefront of any decisions that impact our communities,” CARAS said in the statement.
“We know this is the right decision based on the information we currently have and are continuing to receive. The situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly and we urge everyone to follow the guidelines and protocols put forth by public health officials.”
The move comes a day after the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Concerns over the spread of the virus have led governments and health officials to recommend the cancellation of many mass gatherings such as concerts and sporting events.
The Juno Awards celebrations had been scheduled to kick off Thursday in Saskatoon leading up to Sunday’s televised ceremony, and many artists received the news while travelling to the host city or just as they arrived.
The cancellation includes all Juno Week events as well as Saturday’s Juno gala, the private industry event where most of the awards — including all jazz categories — are presented.
Jazz artists nominated for Junos this year include Jane Bunnett and Maqueque, Ted Quinlan, Bria Skonberg, Ernesto Cervini’s Turboprop, the Mark Kelso Jazz Project and Monkey House.
JAZZ.FM91’s guide to the Juno nominees can be found here.
“We salute and appreciate all the 2020 nominees,” CARAS said in its statement. “(We) will continue to explore options to coordinate an alternative way to honour this year’s Juno Award winners and special award recipients and support the creators and participants that so greatly benefit from the work done by CARAS and the Junos.”